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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

296                               LIFE   OF
Humboldt "wrote these essays he had not seen Italy,
and consequently knew the classic statues only through
copies, some of the most charming of them not at alL
It is therefore the more remarkable, and to be
admired, with what an unerring and penetrating judg-
ment he seizes the forms of the classic gods and heroes,
and brings them before our mental eye, and the
happy aptness of his nature to comprehend the origi-
nal types of the beautiful with clearness and purity,
to conceive and examine them in their most profound
peculiarity is undeniable and admirable." Simulta-
neously with these essays Schiller's letters on the
Esthetical Education of Man appeared in the cc Horen."
The intimate relation of the chain of ideas in the two
authors is nowhere more decidedly apparent. They
seem almost to struggle for the palm in brilliancy
of diction, in the poetically attractive garment they
both throw round the most abstractly philosophic
ideas. Humboldt's power of language can scarcely
be more gracefully displayed, a difficult subject could
not have been more perfectly mastered, nor abstract
dry ness been more happily avoided than in this essay.
We would even, if it were not presumptuous, award
to it the palm, in consideration of its clearness and
intelligibility, in preference to the letters, in which
the ideas are rather too finely and dialectically drawn
out.
Humboldt also published an announcement of the
small edition of the Odyssey, by F. A. "Wolf, for the
Allgemeine Literatur JZeitung. It was a public ac-
knowledgment of the merits of Wolf, as regards his
restoration of the Homerian text. We have already
quoted the passage in which he speaks of the im-
portance of the most trifling points in science, and
which occurs in iMs essay.
Alexander von Humboldt visited his brother several
times during William's residence in Jena, and during
his stay, galvanic and anatomic studies, in which
William participated, and Goethe was equally In-
terested, were the order of the day* In 1795, Alex-